Schools in Texas, Ohio take precautions to avoid Ebola

ROYSE CITY — Schools in Texas and Ohio are reacting with an abundance of caution to concerns about students or staff having any connections to a possible Ebola contact.

In North Texas, it started with Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD. A father of a child at one of the district's elementaries flew on the Frontier flight from Ohio with Ebola-infected nurse Amber Vinson, who flew on the commercial flight Monday.

The man's military employer recommended the family and their child remain in isolation. The district said about 40 percent of students stayed home Thursday from Lake Point Elementary.

The school was cleaned, but not closed.

"I don't think the nurse should have been flying," said great-grandparent Bill Bauerly. But he added, "I don't believe there's danger to us or the children."

Two schools in the Royse City ISD will close Friday as a precaution.

According to a statement from the district, a health care worker who treated one of the nurses infected with the Ebola virus lives at a home with students from both Davis Elementary and Ruth Cherry Intermediate schools.

"This person has been classified as 'low risk,'" the statement read. "As a symptom-free person, there is no risk to anyone in their household or to anyone in their household attending school."

The district said the closures are out of an "abundance of caution."

Grapevine-Colleyville ISD also announced that they identified three students who were on the same Frontier Airlines flight with Vinson. Two of the students attend Silver Lake Elementary and the other attends Grapevine Middle School.

"The families have decided to keep their children home from school as a precaution," read a statement from the district.

One of the district's staff members was also on the flight with Vinson going to Cleveland, but the district said that employee has contacted the CDC and been reassured that there was no risk in traveling on the outbound flight.

The district said none of the students nor the staff member have exhibited symptoms.

The Hurst-Euless Bedford school district reported a secretary at the Transition Center was also on the Frontier flight. She too will stay at home. The district informed students through a phone message system.

In Garland ISD, the parents of four students were on board one of Vinson's flights. The students are enrolled in North Garland High School and Schrade Middle School, but district officials said the parents have been in contact with the CDC and the parents were told their seats were in a "no-risk" area and they were told it was not necessary to keep their children out of school.

Garland ISD officials said no students or parents are showing symptoms of Ebola.

Thursday, three Central Texas schools were closed also as a precaution. Belton ISD, near Kileen, made the decision to close the schools due to two students who traveled on the same flight as Vinson.

RELATED: Classes canceled over Ebola concerns

"Late tonight I learned that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are re-evaluating the health risk to some passengers on Frontier Airlines Flight #1143 from Cleveland to Dallas," said Dr. Susan Kincannon, the district's superintendent in a statement Thursday morning. "At this time, we do not know if this will include either of the two Belton ISD students who traveled on the flight."

North Belton Middle School, Sparta Elementary, and a third middle school were among the closures. Two of the schools will remain closed Friday.

The students will remain at home for 21 days under health monitoring.

A northeast Ohio district closed two schools for cleaning because an employee might have flown on the same plane as Amber Vinson, although not the same flight.

"Somebody not showing signs or symptoms is not contagious," said Dr. John Carlo of the Dallas County Medical Society. "Therefore, kids in school are going to be perfectly safe."

He said it may not be practical to close schools or keep students quarantined for weeks, but it seems to reassure parents.


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